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Publisher's Summary

Even before the Beatles hit the big time, a myth was created. This version of the Beatles legend smoothed the rough edges and filled in the fault lines, and for more than forty years this manicured version of the Beatles story has sustained as truth, until now.

The product of almost a decade of research, hundreds of unprecedented interviews, and the discovery of scores of never-before-revealed documents, Bob Spitz's The Beatles is the biography fans have been waiting for.

Never before has a biography of musicians been so immersive and textured. We are there in the McCartney living room when Paul and John learn to write songs together; backstage the night Ringo takes over on drums; in seedy German strip clubs where George lies about his age so the band can perform; and at the Ed Sullivan Show as America discovers the joy and the madness. From Shea to San Francisco, through the London night, on to India, through marmalade skies, across the universe, all the way to a rooftop concert and one last moment of laughter and music.

It is all here, the highs and the lows, the love and the rivalry, the drugs, the tears, the thrill, the magic never again to be repeated. Bob Spitz's masterpiece is, at long last, the biography the Beatles deserve.

©2005 Bob Spitz; (P)2005 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.

What the critics say

  • Winner of Audio Publishers Association 2007 Audie Award, Non-Fiction, Abridged

"As with all great history writing, Spitz both captures a moment in time and humanizes his subjects. While some will blanch at the unsettling dark sides of the Beatles, most will come to appreciate the band even more for knowing the incredible personal odysseys they endured." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

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  • Overall
  • James
  • 2005-12-05

Put Away Your, Hunter Davies

If as I was, you are or have been a Beatles fan(atic); there is not alot that is new here. However if you only know of the Beatles as they were packaged for the public, this will be a good listen for you. It is not a rewriting of the Beatles myth, but is the truth that was left out of the authorized version by Davies and sadly by The Beatles themselves when they issued their anthology.
I did catch a couple of small errors in the book: As I recall,It was a fan that called and got the Paul is Dead hoax rolling, not the disk jockey. And John and Yoko's poster, billboard, campaign was, "War Is Over! (If You want it.) Not, The war Is Over. These are small, but very public things, and it had me wondering what else might not be accurate.
I recommend this book because of all of the information that is in this one source. The Beatles are history now and it is a good thing to be able to see a more complete picture of the group.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Akida
  • 2009-03-03

O-bla-dee;O-bla-dah... Life goes on...

This audio was very well done. This audible tells a version of the Beatles' story which explains the genesis, the genius and the genocide of the group and the interpersonal dynamics. If you idolized John as your favorite Beatle, this account may have you reconsider. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and highly recommend it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Scott
  • 2007-08-23

An inside story of one of the best bands ever

This book pointedly avoids editorializing in favor of facts and true stories. Some of these stories come from people in the room with the Beatles when an even occurred, others come from the words and recollections of George, John, Paul and Ringo and still other stories come from the Beatles' closest confidants and lovers. The book takes an orderly approach by guiding the reader from the earlier days and ancestry to the end. I enjoyed this book and would rate it among my favorite Beatles bios.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Debali
  • 2006-02-18

Thin in Parts

This book is not bad and, since it is available as an audiobook, I was glad to read it. Moreover, the book is quite strong in places. I was particularly taken by the depth and detail of Spitz's handling of the band's early years in Liverpool and Hamburg. The problem is after that. It is as though the bulk of Spitz's actual research had been devoted to that part of the story and he had relied more on secondhand sources for the rest.
Two major shortcomings of the book stem from the author's evident unease regarding certain very sixties aspects of the band's experience - eastern spiritualism and LSD. These were, undoubtedly, key catalysts for the members of the band. These were young men and their discovery of their artistic selves involved a sort of wide-ranging (and quite bold) experimentation and self-examination. Spitz seems too anxious to gloss this over and/or apologize for it. I thought the discussion of the band's time in India - perhaps the creative high-point for the band, at least as a unit - was particularly thin. Spitz is overly anxious to display that he isn't taken in by the snake-oil salesmen to seriously discuss what it was that, most especially, George Harrison and, to a lesser extent, John Lennon were drawing out of these experiences and interests. Still, for someone like me this subject matter is infinitely fascinating. The Beatles were, after all, the greatest rock 'n' band and this book is about them. At times, moreover, it comes close to being adequate to its subject matter.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • true britty
  • 2016-07-18

Should not be abridged

Alfred Molina is an excellent narrator for a book that feels like a high school outline on the Beatles.

The original book was over 900 pages. This must be pared to half the length, at least.

All the same, the Beatles always make for a fascinating read. The usual suspects and high and low points are here.

I do quibble with the author's strong suggestion that Lennon had a fling with Brian Epstein. Nothing wrong with that but this abridged version at any rate doesn't give strong support for that claim--which made me begin to doubt the research for other parts of the book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael Dillon
  • 2014-11-05

Loved it

What made the experience of listening to The Beatles the most enjoyable?

It was a trip down memory lane. Loved hearing about their lives. Hard to imagine a bunch of poor kids becoming so very famous and rich so fast and not being destroyed by it all.

What about Alfred Molina’s performance did you like?

His performance was excellent.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark D. Larson
  • 2012-07-30

They began as just another garage band!

Where does The Beatles rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Super book.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Beatles?

Hearing about their beginnings as a fragile group of gifted but limited teenage musicians, as they slowly put together, piece by piece, the sound and image they would become famous for. The book helped to bring home their roots as being similar to so many high school garage bands that start with high hopes.

What about Alfred Molina’s performance did you like?

Great pacing, great expressiveness.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Entertaining and fresh.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • J F Whitmore
  • 2011-12-06

Look Inside The Beatles

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

As a lifetime Beatles fan there is little that I have not heard before in this audiobook, but still it had me hooked and I could not break away. I felt like a fifth Beatle and rode the roller coaster ride the Beatles were on. I understood each character perfectly, warts and all. The Beatles were a magical creation, a miracle, there is no other way to describe it. It was an incredible journey of truly gifted souls that came together and changed generations. If you like the Beatles, I believe you will love this.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Beatles?

The most memorable moment was the firing of Pete Best.

What does Alfred Molina bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Alfred Molina was an excellent narrator. He kept my attention throughout.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I didn't want to stop listening. I listened to Part 1 for nearly 4 hours before stopping.

Any additional comments?

Thoroughly enjoyable and very interesting.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • James
  • 2006-01-22

This is a MUST

For those of us who thought they knew the true story of The Beatles, think again.

You've heard all the tripe: " get this... it is the definitive version, rah rah" well, believe the hype - it's true. A truly remarkable piece of journalism.

I wished the story hadn't concluded so quickly - but then I feel the same way about The Beatles. On one hand they should have done another few albums; on the other they had each out grown the other, so we are lucky that Abbey Road and Let It Be were ever created.

These days, if a band has more than three hit songs they are Legends. And more often the New music is a rehash of OUR music.

Just how lucky were we to have had The Beatles as OUR music?

And how lucky are we to have this book to fill in all those gaps. Do yourself a favour and have a listen.

But first fill your IPOD with Beatles songs and listen to them as they are mentioned.


5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • J. Meade
  • 2017-05-27

Wish I'd realized it was abridged.

I may try to find the full version. The abridged was not full and satisfying. I felt the whole time I was missing something.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful